Darren Thornhill, of The Baxter Group UK, shares his thoughts on the importance of employee wellbeing and the difficult challenges faced around workplace suicide.
By creating a workplace culture that fosters empathy, support and open communication, you are on the first step to helping.
*Trigger warning – this article touches on the subject of suicide. This is an individual's perspective and we recognize that everyone's experience of mental health and everyone's circumstances are different.
In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, I believe that the well-being of employees should be a top priority for any organisation.
Unfortunately, one of the most difficult challenges we currently face is workplace suicide. Sadly, this is a silent epidemic that can have devasting consequences for individuals, families and organisations
As responsible leaders and Managers, it is our duty to create a safe and supportive workplace culture that prioritises Mental Health and actively prevents suicide.
If we address this critical issue head-on, we can save lives and build thriving organisations.
There are many steps involved in creating a safe and supportive culture, including acknowledging the crisis, cultivating a compassionate culture, enhancing Mental Health Policies, empowering Managers as Mental Health Leaders, reducing the stigma and implementing preventative measures.
So how do we help stop Workplace Suicides?
Acknowledge the crisis – Like anything, until you acknowledge there is a problem you cannot move forward. Workplace suicide is a real and urgent issue that needs urgent attention. Though it is often hidden away in the shadows, workplace suicide can affect employees from all industries, irrespective of their position or seniority.
Acknowledge the crisis
Like anything, until you acknowledge there is a problem you cannot move forward. Workplace suicide is a real and urgent issue that needs urgent attention. Though it is often hidden away in the shadows, workplace suicide can affect employees from all industries, irrespective of their position or seniority.
Cultivate a compassionate culture
By creating a workplace culture that fosters empathy, support and open communication, you are on the first step to helping. Embracing Mental Health as an integral part of the overall well-being of organisations helps empower people to seek help without fear of judgement.
Enhance Mental Health Policies
Only by having comprehensive Mental Heath Policies can we develop and implement priorities for employee well-being. A comprehensive Mental Health Policy should be the cornerstone of any organisation. These Policies need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure they match both current best practices and employee’s needs.
All Managers play a crucial role in supporting their team’s Mental Health. By investing in training for your Managers you are ensuring they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to help support and care for their team and each other.
Reduce the stigma
Stigma surrounding suicide has long been a common issue. Thankfully, through organisations such as Lancashire Mind and The Orange Button Scheme, this stigma is starting to be removed. People have always been afraid to seek help as they fear others will judge them. Surely, this is wrong? We have a duty to look after each other and help to debunk myths and misconceptions. By reducing the stigma, people are more likely to seek the help they need at an earlier stage.
Implement Preventative Measures
By implementing proactive measures, we can significantly reduce the risk of workplace suicide. There are many things that can be offered from the start of employment to help employees and organisations. These include things such as Stress Management Programmes, Flexible Working Policies, Mindfulness Workshops and Resilience Training. The biggest thing any organisation can offer is a good work / life balance. By offering a good work / life balance you are showing that you really do care about your employees and their well-being.
There are many more ways of helping and each organisation will have their own things in place to help create a safe and supportive environment as well as good Mental Health Culture.
Lancashire Mind offers Workplace Wellbeing and Training, forming part of the preventative measures organisations can make.
Workplace suicide is a painful reality and one that demands immediate action. By having a compassionate culture and implementing preventative measures, we can save lives and create workplaces that prioritise the well-being of every employee.
By no means is this a “one size fits all” type of environment, but by working together we can ALL do our bit to help prevent what is a sad and painful, but real problem.
We need to shatter the silence, start the conversation and spearhead something that ensures no one feels alone or unsupported.
Together, we NEED TO and CAN build a future where workplaces are beacons of hope, resilience and unwavering care.
If you are unsure what your organisation offers, ask the question. If there is nothing, or very little in place, offer to help build the Mental Health Culture of your organisation.
As Geoffrey Chaucer (1340s - 1400) said “Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow”
If you have been impacted by this article and would like additional information or support on the subject of suicide or thoughts about suicide:
For more information about Lancashire Minds Workplace Wellbeing services visit:
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